Baylor invests in Illuminate, Downtown Waco

October 12, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

At the recommendation of the University, the Baylor Board of Regents today approved the purchase of three downtown properties that will help Baylor advance our Illuminate strategic plan, pursue our goal to reach Tier 1/Research 1 status and bolster our relationship with our hometown of Waco.

Baylor on Washington Ave

The properties, which include the “Baylor Tower,” adjacent existing structures and parking areas, are located at 801, 811 and 821 Washington Ave. Baylor currently leases space in these properties for a number of University programs, including the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program and the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty.

Baylor was not seeking to buy these properties. Based on existing lease agreements with the property owners, however, the University had the right of first refusal to purchase the properties should the owners decide to sell.

The purchase price of $9 million will not result in any additional monthly financial commitment from the University budget. In other words, instead of making monthly lease payments to the current property owners, we will be investing in a property that Baylor will own long-term essentially for no additional cost.

Baylor on Washington Ave Skyline

Below is a breakdown of the properties:

  • 801 Washington Ave. includes a 10-story, 64,779-square-foot building and an adjacent four-level parking garage with 236 parking spaces.
  •  811 Washington Ave., which houses the Garland School of Social Work and the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, is a three-story, 44,813-square-foot building and includes 55 surface-level parking spaces.
  • 821 Washington Ave. is a one-story building with 9,713 square feet of space. This building is the current location of the DPT program in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences.

One of the four pillars of Illuminate is “Research and Scholarship Marked by Quality, Impact and Visibility.” The purchase of these properties in downtown Waco provides Baylor integral academic space to help increase our long-term teaching and research capabilities. In terms of visibility, we will house Baylor academic programs, initiatives and support services in these buildings that help define the Waco skyline.

As Faculty Regent Sara Dolan, Ph.D., shared with the Board’s Finance and Facilities Committee:

“The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience has had space in the Baylor Tower for more than a decade. Downtown Waco is an ideal location for our research laboratory space and for the Baylor Psychology Clinic, a full-service, community-based mental health clinic, because of its easy access for students, faculty and staff, research participants and patients.”

Baylor is always seeking opportunities to strengthen the relationship with our home city of Waco. Having a concrete, significant presence downtown where Baylor students, faculty and staff can work, attend classes and socialize is just one more way to solidify this town-gown relationship.

I want to thank the Board of Regents for recognizing this opportunity to permanently expand Baylor’s footprint in Waco. It excites me to think of seeing our Baylor logo lighting up the night sky alongside the iconic ALICO building for years to come.

Sincerely,

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
President

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